January 12, 2011
Former Millwall striker Richard Sadlier has a fascinating piece on the Irish Independent's site about his experience with recently sacked Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane. It's a loving portrait of a calm, gentle man who likes to give out free hugs on Tuesdays and posts cute motivational posters of cats in the dressing room.
Just kidding -- it's about Roy Keane. A guy Sadlier describes as "aloof, intimidating and critical."
Sadlier's experience with Keane came when he was trying to make a comeback from injury that ended his career with Millwall in 2004 and Roy was a new manager with Sunderland. Sadlier, who has one cap for the Republic of Ireland, takes it from there:
After one of my many comeback attempts while in training at Sunderland, the physio called myself and one of the other lads into his office. He had a message from the manager for us both.
We had just completed our first few days of full squad training, and it was the first time Roy Keane had seen us back in action. Eagerly awaiting his input, we were a little surprised with the feedback we were given. The message was simple. "No more f***ing leggings at this club. It's no coincidence the lads who wear them are always injured."
It seemed he had focused on our choice of attire and cared little for anything else we had done.
This falls in line with Keane's recent public stance on snoods and other paraphernalia, but this is really just the tip of the Roy Keane experience.
When instruction or direction was needed one day, he opted instead to aim a karate-style kick at the tactics board. During one half-time break when the team was trailing 3-0, his decision to sit arms-folded in a chair in total silence contributed nothing to the chance of an improved second-half performance.
Really? It didn't put the fear of God into everyone and make them play like their life depended on it? Because that sounds terrifying. But not as terrifying as this:
When one player questioned his style of management in public, he fined him heavily straight away. When another showed his disgust at not being included in a practice game, he put him up against the wall in his office and challenged him. "Go on son, be the first to take me on."
Imagining Roy Keane as a manager inevitably involves picturing him challenging his own players to a fight. Yet, it's still hilarious and kind of shocking that real life Roy Keane has done it.
While it sounds like Sadlier has a bit of an underlying grudge to feed, his piece makes it clear that he knew his career was essentially over by the time he encountered Roy and his attempted comeback was almost impossible. So I wouldn't fully attribute this negativity solely on a desire to publicly trash a man who didn't offer him a contract. It seems this is just Roy being Roy.
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